Why Your Marriage Needs Energy To Grow The importance of energy in your marriage is essential to maintain strength and positive upward growth. BY ALYSON SMITH, LMFT
Everything that grows in this world needs energy—your marriage is no different.
Without energy, life stops: plants will not grow, cars will not move, impulses will not fire. This seems obvious—any third grader can explain the dire relationship between a plant and the sun. So why do we often forget to expend energy into the most vital area of one’s life—marriage?
Often times, marriage is viewed as a self-sustaining organism that will fend for itself. The responsibility of growing the union is left to the universe, with both parties waiting to see what the stars have in store, so to speak. The fact that a lot of energy was once exerted to create the relationship in the first place is often forgotten, replaced only by bitterness that "it" (i.e. the marriage) did not work. But how did the relationship grow to begin with?
Both the birth and death of a marriage comes from the same seed: energy. For a union to even exist, a great deal of energy must go into creating a base. Hours may be spent planning the next date, getting to know the other or daydreaming about the idea of a life together. To be in a relationship, both parties must be responsible for the amount of energy that gets put into the maintenance of that union.
Conversely, when the amount of energy going into the relationship decreases, whether it gets chipped into pieces and parceled away into other areas or just simply dissolves, the relationship is sure to wilt. When people say, "The marriage is dead," they are partially correct; the energy that must be spent to sustain the bloom has died.
So, since the idea of putting work into a marriage is nothing novel, it appears the error lies in how people may view the process of marriage. It is a mistake to view marriage as a linear process, starting with the first hello and ending with the exchanging of vows.
When a marriage is viewed as a static object—an end goal in a sequence of events—it eliminates acknowledgement that work, or energy, must go into this entity to keep it functioning. In this case, marriage in itself is the end; being married is not perceived as an active process. Even the language itself, "married," is in the past tense, suggesting a past event as opposed to an ongoing exchange.
But when a marriage is viewed as a birth unto itself, it gives the marriage a life of its own; it becomes a link in a chain of events. By viewing the marriage as what it is—two people agreeing to be in a relationship with one another—one cannot deny the essential responsibility each partner has in its ongoing existence, nor downplay the great amount of energy that must go into its care. It brings the marriage to the present—it makes it alive.
Most people are more than willing to nourish a living entity to help it grow. If the both of you begin to recognize your marriage as a living ongoing interaction, as opposed to a one-dimensional status, then you may be more naturally in tune and realistic about the amount of energy it will require to flourish.
One of the New York Metropolitan Area's most up-and-coming, well-respected Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists. Alyson Smith holds a Masters Degree in Psychological Studies and an Educational Specialist Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Seton Hall University.